Groom the Next Joseph Schooling: Singapore Swimming Proficiency Award

Are you hoping to groom your child to be the next Joseph Schooling to represent Singapore? In that case, you will want to consider sending your child for the Singapore Swimming Proficiency Award (SSPA) which was launched in 2013. The SSPA tests the swimmers on their ability to swim the 4 recognised swimming strokes; freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly.

As part of the training to become the next Joseph Schooling, the swimmer will learn to apply the following FINA rules for competitive swimming in their own swimming. We’ve compiled a list of some of rules below.

  1. SW5 – Freestyle
    • The swimmer can choose to swim any style
    • Some part of the swimmer must touch the wall upon completion of each length and at the finish
    • Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race
    • The swimmer is allowed to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and each turn
    • No walking
    • No pulling of lane rope
  1. SW6 – Backstroke
    • The swimmer is to start with both hands holding the starting grips, in the water and facing the starting end
    • The swimmer shall push off and swim on his back throughout the race except when executing a turn
    • Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race
    • The swimmer is allowed to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and each turn
    • When executing a turn, some part of the swimmer’s body must touch the wall
    • During the turn, the shoulders may be turned over the vertical to the breast and perform a single or simultaneous double arm pull to initiate the turn
    • The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall
    • The swimmer must finish the swim by touching the wall while on his/her back
  1. SW7 – Breaststroke
    • After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs during which the swimmer may be submerged
    • A single butterfly kick is permitted during the first arm stroke, followed by a breaststroke kick.
    • From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and after each turn, the body shall be on the breast
    • The swimmer must maintain a stroke cycle of one arm stroke and one kick
    • Arm movements are to be done simultaneously with no alternate movement
    • Recovery of the arm stroke should not be done above the water surface
    • The elbows shall be under water except for the final stroke before the turn, during the turn and for the final stroke at the finish
    • Leg movements are to be done simultaneously with no alternate movement
    • During each complete cycle, some part of the swimmer’s head must break the surface of the water
    • At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands simultaneously at, above, or below the water level
  1. SW8 – Butterfly
    • From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and each turn, the body shall be kept on the breast
    • Under water kicking on the side is allowed
    • Both arms shall be brought forward together over the water and brought backward simultaneously throughout the race
    • All up and down movements of the legs must be simultaneous
    • At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands simultaneously, at, above or below the water surface
    • At the start and at turns, a swimmer is permitted one or more leg kicks and one arm pull under the water, which must bring him to the surface
    • It shall be permissible for a swimmer to be completely submerged for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and after each turn
    • The swimmer must remain on the surface until the next turn or finish
  1. SW9 – Medley
    • In individual medley events, the swimmer covers the four swimming strokes in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle
    • Each of the strokes must cover one quarter (1/4) of the distance.
    • For the freestyle, any style other than backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly can be used
    • The rules for each stroke are applicable in the medley event

In order for swimmers to attempt the SSPA tests, they must meet the minimum criteria of SwimSafer Stage 1. Badges are awarded to swimmers who achieve the stipulated timings of each event. Upon completion of levels 1, 2 or 3, swimmers will be given the option to purchase a rainbow certificate and badge. The timings to meet for each stroke at each level are listed in the table below.

Type Level  1

50m

Level 2

100m

Level 3
200m
Level 4

400m

Level 5

800m

Level 6

1500m

Front Crawl ≤1:05 ≤2:30 ≤5:20 ≤10:40 ≤21:20 ≤40:00
Breaststroke ≤1:20 ≤3:15 ≤7:30
Backstroke ≤1:10 ≤3:00 ≤7:00
Butterfly ≤1:20 ≤3:30 ≤7:30
Individual Medley ≤3:00 ≤7:00